Beachbody has worked “jump start” micro-diets into our programs almost since the beginning, and with good reason. Starting off a prolonged series of workouts with a short boot-camp-style nutrition plan is more than just a way to shed a few pounds up front; it’s a powerful motivational tool. Not only are you training your willpower to take on harder tasks ahead, but with that dip on the scale, you’re affirming that you can do whatever you set your mind—and body—to do.
With this in mind, combining 3-Day Refresh with a workout program is the logical next step. This whole food and supplement-based program is intended to break the cycle of bad eating habits, and act as a challenge to put you in the right mind frame to succeed. In fact, Beachbody customer surveys indicated 73 percent of respondents felt the 3-Day Refresh helped to break their bad eating habits. It can help you adjust to clean eating before you make a daily commitment to exercise.
The key to breaking these types of habits—or achieving any other goal—isn’t what you’re capable of doing as much as what you think you’re capable of doing. It’s called “mastery” or perceived control. In his book The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control, psychologist Walter Mischel describes this as “the belief that you can be an active agent in determining your own behavior, that you are able to change, grow, learn, and master new challenges.”
If that doesn’t ring a bell, you may also know mastery from the Little Engine’s mantra: “I think I can. I think I can.”
So adding a shorter challenge to the front of a longer challenge is a good opportunity to see that you have the right stuff. You knuckle down for three days and are quickly rewarded for your efforts. Maybe it’s not quite the nutritional challenge you’ll face while doing Ultimate Reset, 21 Day Fix, or SHIFT SHOP, but it’s a challenge nonetheless—and an opportunity to see what you’re made of.
And, in all likelihood, taking on a “mini” challenge like the 3-Day Refresh doesn’t just inspire you. It very well could be strengthening your willpower on a deeper level. Research has established that willpower works like a muscle in the sense that it gets fatigued when you push it too hard. With this in mind, it’s only logical that willpower can be strengthened—again, just like a muscle. In Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney discuss the notion of “willpower workouts,” citing endurance artist David Blaine, whose stunts include fasting for 44 days and holding his breath for 17 minutes. He works up to these feats by, well, working up to them. “Getting your brain wired into little goals and achieving them, that helps you achieve the bigger things you shouldn’t be able to do,” Blaine told the authors. “It’s not just practicing the specific thing.”
Affecting positive change in your life is hard work. If it weren’t, you probably wouldn’t need to change to begin with. So it’s important to be strategic in your plans. Starting your fitness program with a kickstart like the 3-Day-Refresh not only preps your mind and body for the weeks of hard work ahead of you, it also shows you that you have the power to do anything—even hold your breath for 17 minutes. (Although you can always opt for healthy weight loss and improved fitness instead.)